Sunday, 7 August 2011

Wait a minute ... it's stopped blowing

A good downpour washed the salt off the decks.
We woke this morning to silence. The wind has finally stopped roaring through and, oh, the activity in the marina this morning as boats that have been waiting weeks to sail south, finally untied lines and motored out of the marina.
The breeze is at 10 to 15 knots and dropping. The swell is definitely less than the two to three metres it has sustained for over a week now.
The forecast predicts we may have three or more days of calm in succession so we're predicting we may head out, yet again, to explore the offshore islands of Mackay.
We made an attempt last week and anchored off Keswick Island. Lots of coral and lots of bommies. It's very pretty but the on-shore signs are hostile. Private Property. Keep Out.Not the welcome you'd like.
Anyway, a foray in the dinghy indicated we needed to anchor further out of the northern bay to compensate for the 5.8 metre tide change that evening, which meant lots of anchor chain out and a wide swinging circle. Being further out meant riding an increasing swell which was very uncomfortable so we decided to shift our anchorage to the Egremont Passage between Keswick and St Bees Islands.
There were two other yachts anchored there, tucked in tight to the coral reef, which provided its own challenges.
However with nearly 50 metres of anchor chain out, we felt reasonably secure even though the tide dominated the wind and pushed us every which way except the direction we expected to be sitting. It was weird and resulted in not much sleep as we took it in turns to stay up and check our position during the night.
The next morning we were tired out and the weather was deteriorating so we made the decision to head back to Mackay and the marina. With wind and tide assisting we were sometimes flying along at eight knots but as we got closer to Mackay, the seas were churning and we were struggling to maintain four knots. We were happy campers when we finally tied up to the marina berth.
One of the other yachts at Keswick came into the marina the following day and said that we'd looked like we knew what we were doing with our anchorage so as soon as we'd left it they shifted to where we had been. It just shows you can fool some of the people some of the time. We all had a good laugh over it.
Because of our extended stay here we've managed to catch up with a few people and explore a fair bit of Mackay on our bikes. The city has a fantastic 21 km Bluewater Trail bike and walking path. It's about two metres wide, either bitumen or concrete the whole way, and takes you along the Pioneer River, through wetlands and mangroves, along the foreshore and through the Botanic Gardens (the latter is a treat on its own).
It's a fantastic ride (rather a long walk though) with plenty of birdlife along the way.
The marina is 7kms out of town so we're keeping pretty fit exploring, doing a bit of shopping and going to markets.
When it's windy, cycling's a bit like yachting, I reckon. Going one way you fly but when you want to go back it's a bit of a battle. However, if you're on our bike, you can always get off.

1 comment:

  1. Gday Roy and Janet hope everything is going well, Ben finally made the move to Darwin and is going wall at CAT he loves it. We have had a bit of a setback with our travels. Jude had an op on her shoulder in Nov then tore it again in Feb so another op, then I tore my ACL and had to have that operated on. so might get going after xmas with a bit of luck.hope you are both well and are having heaps of fun all the best Haydon and Judy.